Christmas stories seen through children's eyes Christmas in the countries of Europe - Page 4

countries of Central Europe were under Soviet influence, communist authorities strongly pushed Russian traditional Ded Moroz ("Grandfather Frost") in the place of Little Jesus won. Now Santa Claus is attacking, by means of advertising and Hollywood film production. Many people, Christians as well as people with just a Christian background, go to Roman Catholic midnight mass celebration. Other common attributes of Christmas in Central Europe include Christmas trees, mistletoe, Christmas garlands, and Bethlehem cribs. In many areas of Central Europe, St. Nicholas (Hungarian: Mikulás, Czech: Mikuláš, Polish: Mikołaj, Slovak: Mikuláš, Slovene: Miklavž), or Santa Claus, does not come for Christmas. He visits families earlier, on the dawn of St. Nicholas Day on December 6, and for the well-behaved children he has presents and candy-bags to put into their well polished shoes that were set in the windows the previous evening. Although he neither parks his sleigh on rooftops nor climbs chimneys, his visits are usually accompanied by a diabolic-looking servant named Krampusz (in Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia: Krampus, in Czech and Slovak regions he is simply "čert", i.e. devil, without any name) who gives golden coloured birches for so called badly behaved children. Actually all children get both gifts and golden birches (Hungarian: virgács) in their shoes, no matter how they behaved themselves. I n some German-speaking communities, in the German-speaking Europe; particularly in Catholic regions of western and southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria, South Tyrol and Liechtenstein, as well as in other Catholic regions of Central Europe, the Christkind (literally "Christ child") brings the presents on the evening of December 24